Umatilla students celebrate their future plans with a balloon launch.

About the school

Clara Brownell Middle School and Umatilla High School, Umatilla, Oregon

  • 654 students in grades 7-12
  • 85% eligible for free and reduced lunch
  • 74% students of color

GEAR UP highlights

Umatilla career fair

Our most inspiring initiative is the annual Umatilla Career Fair. Local community career professionals, alumni, trades groups, local colleges, military branches, and tech schools take over Umatilla High School for a Friday. Students are able to rotate through 7 different sessions, of their choice, that interests them.

Because we are in a rural part of Oregon it is awesome to be able to provide this opportunity to show our students what pathways are available to them that they may not see everyday. Thanks to one of our teachers, we have even had Zoom meetings with professional athletes, a producer for Fox Sports, and a NBA TV Broadcaster!

Tag with GEAR UP logo and my plan

Because of GEAR UP, Umatilla School District was able to implement new classes to ensure students had the support they needed to complete their high school career, but also the tools to be prepared and ready for post-secondary education.


The impact of GEAR UP

Umatilla high school grad rate graph

Prior to GEAR UP, students at the high school were skipping classes, did not have a lot of school spirit, and the graduation rate was low. With the help of GEAR UP and change in administration, in the fall of 2016 (the year our cohort was freshmen), those things began to change. Our attendance has improved, skipping is a rarity, school spirit is strong, and our graduation rate has improved tremendously.

What has helped your school be successful in implementing GEAR UP?

Umatilla bulletin board with college decisions

Umatilla celebrates seniors' post-high school plans.

Umatilla GEAR UP is successful and sustainable due to strong support from our community, our administration, and committed and caring staff that are willing to go above and beyond for each student to reach their full potential.

We have been able to implement some of GEAR UP's values into the culture of the school by providing the opportunity to design a 10-year plan in a Success 101 class, and to create individual post-secondary plans in our Pathway to Scholarships class. Every College Wednesday is used to display different post-secondary options, and all Umatilla students are encouraged and supported to take as many college classes during their high school career.

Information contributed by GEAR UP coordinator Shawn Franks.